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Altar

Fire Pans in the Bible and Archaeology

Fire pans (maḥtot) are listed as part of the Tabernacle’s accessories for the menorah and the altar. They also play an important role in the stories of Korah’s rebellion and the death of Nadav and Avihu as incense censors. Archaeological excavations have uncovered what these items were and how they functioned.

Dr.

Raz Kletter

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Aaron’s Flowering Staff: A Priestly Asherah?

The story of Aaron’s staff reads like an etiological tale, explaining a holy object in the Temple. The description of the object as a stylized tree suggests a connection with the asherah, a ritual object forbidden by Deuteronomy.

Dr.

Raanan Eichler

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Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal: Israel’s Holy Site Before Shiloh

In the eighties, archaeologist Adam Zertal excavated the site of El-Burnat on Mt. Ebal, and uncovered an enormous ancient altar from the early twelfth-century B.C.E. This archaeological find sheds light on the account of Joshua’s altar at Mt. Ebal as well as the famous story of Jacob crossing his arms to bless Ephraim over Manasseh with the birthright.

Zvi Koenigsberg

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The Bronze Plating of the Altar: Numbers Versus Exodus

After Korah’s failed rebellion, God commands Elazar to plate the altar with the bronze firepans of the two hundred and fifty tribal leaders (Num 17). But didn’t Bezalel already plate the altar in bronze as God commanded when it was first built (Exod 27 and 38)?

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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The Zer

What exactly is the זֵר (zer), mentioned ten times in the furnishing of the Mishkan: A test case for the importance of archaeology[1] 

Dr.

Raanan Eichler

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Why the Fire-Pans Were Used to Plate the Altar

After the two hundred and fifty tribal leaders, led by Korah, were burnt, God tells Elazar to use the fire-pans to plate the altar to remind Israel that only priests may offer incense (Num 17:5). But is this the original reason for the plating? A redaction-critical analysis shows that the story once had a different purpose in mind.

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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